One in custody after Santa Cruz High School social media threat

SANTA CRUZ — Just days after an active shooter hoax threat, students and staff at Santa Cruz High School were briefly ordered to shelter in place Monday in response to a social media threat that lacked credibility, authorities said.

The shelter in place was in response to a “non-specific threat” made against the school in an Instagram post on Saturday, Santa Cruz High School principal Michelle Poirier said Monday outside the school. school after the order is completed.

Students are starting to roam freely on campus again Monday morning after Santa Cruz High School officials ordered a small shelter in place in response to a <a class=social media threat. (Shmuel Thaler – Sentinel of Santa Cruz)” width=”4032″ data-sizes=”auto” src=”″ srcset=” 620w, 210w”/>
Students are starting to roam freely on campus again Monday morning after Santa Cruz High School officials ordered a small shelter in place in response to a social media threat. (Shmuel Thaler – Sentinel of Santa Cruz)

Within an hour and a half of being tipped off, Santa Cruz Police Department officers identified and detained a young man residing in Santa Cruz County who they believe was responsible for the social media threat. The boy, police and school officials said, is not a student at Santa Cruz High and his threat was unrelated to the threat from last week – which is still the subject of a active investigation.

“The minor is in custody,” police department spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke wrote in a press release. “There has never been a credible threat to the schools in the city of Santa Cruz.”

Police have arrested the boy on suspicion of making criminal threats and his case will be forwarded to the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s office for review, Blaschke said.

Earlier, Poirier alerted parents to the preventive action with an email message sent around 10:45 a.m. Monday morning and a recorded voicemail message released afterwards. Regarding the belated response to the threat, Poirier said the school’s Associated Student Body — which oversees Santa Cruz High’s Instagram account — alerted school officials to the weekend post. on social media shortly after they met in the second period on Monday.

Students were seen moving freely around campus at 11:30 a.m.

The shelter-in-place order was issued “with great caution,” according to a post on the Santa Cruz High website at 11:10 a.m. School officials believe the threat is another fake inspired by a telephone message to the police. Thursday, they wrote.

“The high school instagram received a threat Saturday morning that was to be executed today,” school officials wrote in their notice.

A shelter-in-place directive translates to teachers closing classroom blinds and turning off lights while allowing them to continue teaching, Poirier said.

“The students today were really calm,” said Poirier. “They felt we were well staffed and it was an air of great oversight.”

Santa Cruz City Schools Superintendent Kris Munro, speaking outside campus with Poirier, thanked law enforcement officials for the quick response.

“The protocol we put in place and the practice paid off,” Munro said. “Everyone did what they were supposed to do.”

A more dramatic scene unfolded around 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the school, when 911 dispatchers received a call reporting gunshots that resulted in multiple casualties. In addition to drawing an extensive response from law enforcement across the county, emergency responders rushed to the Dominican Hospital in preparation for the alleged shooting victims. After an extensive search of the campus and an order for all campuses of schools in the city of Santa Cruz to shelter in place, Santa Cruz Police Department Chief Bernie Escalante was able to declare the call a fake. report and send the students home for the day.

“Schools should be safe places for students, and student safety is a priority,” Santa Cruz police said in the statement. “There are currently no threats to schools in our area, and students can feel safe attending school.”

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